I just got back from dropping my parents off at the Crawfordsville train station so they can take Amtrak to Vancouver and now I’m dreaming of train travel. Actually, I’ve been thinking about it since last weekend when I visited my friend Scott. He lives and works at Heritage Prairie Market, an organic farm and grocery located about forty miles west of Chicago. The farm is in a rural agricultural area with cornfields all around but there is a commuter rail station about two miles away so we were able to ride into downtown Chicago for $5 roundtrip. I love the idea of enjoying the rural life while also having easy access to urban amenities.
Alas, Bloomington does not have a train station. We don’t even have a Greyhound bus station anymore since they decided it was not profitable. All we have is a private shuttle that runs to and from the Indianapolis airport, located on the far west side of Indianapolis. Indianapolis does have an Amtrak train station, a Greyhound bus station and a Megabus stop but they’re all downtown, about twenty miles from the airport.
I couldn’t find any mention of a connection between downtown and the airport on the airport’s website or on the convention center website but Dad says he’s sure there’s some sort of shuttle that people can take. Just now I finally poked around on the IndyGo bus system website and discovered there is actually a city bus that runs from the airport downtown every half hour, which is awesome to know. So now I know it’s possible to get between Bloomington and Chicago without a car. I can take the Bloomington Shuttle ($25) to the Indianapolis Aiport, take IndyGo Bus #8 ($1.25) downtown, and then take a bus or train (~$20) to Chicago. $46.25 seems a little steep but the real issue for me is convenience.
Which brings me back to my simple dream – I wish Bloomington had a train station! There used to be one, many years ago, but now if we want to take the train anywhere, we have to take a car or a bus to another city. The two closest train stations are Indianapolis (an hour away) and Crawfordsville (an hour and a half away) but the main train route to Chicago comes through Indianapolis at 5:00AM and Crawfordsville at 7:30AM. They picked Crawfordsville so we could sleep until 5:30 rather than 3:30. Still, I dream of the day when I can ride my bike to the train station…